Matching the overall trajectory of the series, this season opening Halloween special begins with a mean-spirited and violent opening bout of domestic violence which ends with the title of the episode being splattered on the wall from Marge killing Homer with a shotgun. Even a brief mea culpa from Kang and Kodos apologising for the Halloween special airing in November can’t wash the bad taste away.

Reaper Madness

“I might occasionally kill out of anger or to prove a point, but I am not a grim reaper!”

Inspired, no doubt, by the near-identical “Family Guy” episode ‘Death Is A Bitch’ which aired three years previously, this plays out much the same although doesn’t spend any near as much time exploring a world without death. It runs the same gamut of gags as the Griffins did years before so while they’re funny, it’s more a curiosity to see “The Simpsons” occupy a position they so often force other animations into. For once, “The Simpsons” didn’t do it first.


Frinkenstein

“Oh I’ve waited so long to hear you say that. What does it mean, is it dirty?”

One of the foremost one-note characters who have, over “The Simpsons” long run, been promoted far beyond their capacity for humour or interest is Professor Frink and this episode leans too heavily on that by bringing his father back from the grave and doubles down on the Jerry Lewis-isms to rapidly diminishing effect although it regains some credibility by having Jerry Lewis himself voice Jonathan Frink Sr.


Stop The World I Want To Goof Off

“Oh baby, did I find something to throw out today? If you like space in the attic, are you gonna be happy!”

The highlight of an overall poor Treehouse Of Horror, this time-bending tale lifts its story once again from a “Twilight Zone” episode. Cue many a prank as Bart and Milhouse terrorise the town with temporal tomfoolery. When they’re found out and forced to flee, the watch suffers catastrophic damage and they end up spending years trying to fix it. It’s a rich source for humour and little wonder that “Rick & Morty” dipped into the same well for their Season 2 opener “A Rickle In Time”.


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